Yannick Tifu willing to face the challenges in Reading

Yannick Tifu has scored 95 goals and 225 assists for 320 points in the ECHL in 279 games. (Reading Royals)

Yannick Tifu has scored 95 goals and 225 assists for 320 points in the ECHL in 279 games. (Reading Royals)

Yannick Tifu isn’t new to the Sovereign Center and the fans of the Reading Royals. He spent the majority of the last two seasons on the rival Elmira Jackals and became one of the most hated players to step foot in Reading.

“Reading was probably the worst,” Tifu said. “I’m not saying anything bad against Trenton or the [Wheeling Nailers], but Elmira and Reading always had that competition together. You see the team 16 times during the year and it has been a big battle and those two teams are known as having a mix of grit and a little bit of skill and a mix of everything.”

Tifu came into Reading in the 2011-12 season as a member of the Chicago Express and played the Royals Nov. 23 and 25. He scored a goal in the second game as the Express beat the home team both times.

A mere three days later, Tifu found himself back in Reading – except this time, no longer as the enemy. In the midst of a slump, Royals coach Larry Courville made a big move in trading for the 27 year old in hopes of adding more leadership and grit to the team.

“The first couple days were a little bit nervous,” Tifu said. “The first practice wearing the jersey – I looked at myself and was like, ‘Wow, I’m really on the other side now.’”

The native of Brossard, Quebec, made the trip from Chicago to Reading in time for their next game against – you guessed it – the Jackals on Nov. 30. Though he didn’t register a point and was a minus-2 in the game, the fans welcomed the new Royal with open arms and gave him an ovation when he was announced in the starting lineup.

“It was special the couple first days,” Tifu said. “I’m with Reading and I’m really proud to be. It’s a great fan base and it’s fun to play here every night.”

Before the trade, Tifu and the Express were on a roll and sat atop the North Division, but now he found himself a part of a team that had lost five straight and continued to lose with him on the roster.

The shake-up in the locker room that was part of the reason for bringing the center to Reading had no affect on changing the team’s fortunes.

“I know right now we’re going through a hard time,” Tifu said. “Coming here, I think it’s a great challenge.  We made a change and me coming in playing with some new players, those guys have got to get used to playing with me [and] I have to get used to playing with those guys. It’s coming through.”

Tifu had the opportunity to play against Courville in his second year of pro and knows the type of person he can be as a coach.

“I know Larry is a great competitor and he wants to win so I know he’ll do anything to win,” he said. “It’s a great challenge and I know we’re going to come out of it stronger. Right now it’s adversity and we’ll go through that as a team.”

Tifu brings an edge to the Royals that the team has been lacking. A physical force with the skill to be a point-per-game offensive threat, he plans to continue being the same player he has always been, more than likely to the aggravation of other fan bases.

“I’m not going to change my game now because people will hate me or boo me,” Tifu said. “I take that as an advantage on my side and I love it when they boo me. You take that and you go out there and just want more boos. That’s perfect for me. I like it like that.”

Tifu’s pro career began in the ECHL with the Phoenix Roadrunners in 2006-07 and he has since played on six other teams in the league, along with some stints in the AHL. Despite the years seen in the ECHL, he sees no end in sight and wants to carry on playing hockey in the league.

“It’s just that I love hockey,” Tifu said. “I’m born and raised loving hockey and coming to the rink, for me, is not hard. I told my parents the day that I’m going to stop loving it and I’m going to come to the rink and be grumpy is the day that it’s time for me to go away. But I’m not at that point and I’m not even close to being at that point. I do what I love and we’re really lucky to play the wonderful sport of hockey.”

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Categories: ECHL, Features, Ice Hockey, Sports

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2 Comments on “Yannick Tifu willing to face the challenges in Reading”

  1. December 4, 2011 at 12:14 AM #

    Excellent feature, Candice. You know I’m not too familiar with the Royals system but I really enjoyed this piece. Sounds like Tifu has the ability to hopefully turn around this slump the Royals are in.

    Great work!

  2. December 4, 2011 at 11:03 PM #

    Great article Candice! I didn’t know anything about him before and I want to get to know him better in the future now…

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